Ever since we first watched the children’s movie Hoodwinked! (2005), a line has been sung throughout our home by each family member at one time or another. The wisdom of that old goat! There is, so often, occasion for his advice, “Be prepared. Be prepared. This lesson must be shared!”

Going back even further than this comical movie, the phrase “Be Prepared” was, and still is, the motto for the Boy Scouts. Their 13th edition Handbook defines it well, “…to be ready in mind and body and to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges await…”.

God tells us in Ephesians 6:13-17 how to meet life’s challenges:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Jesus, being “the Way” to the Father, is also our access to this armor. In applicable terms, Truth is the tool belt; we can’t work without it in either our own walk or our walk with others. The breastplate guards a heart for right living. The Gospel prepares feet, via repentance, for smooth and peaceful navigation along the narrow road. Faith shields the body and mind (where battles begin) from attacks of the enemy. The helmet of salvation (our hope) secures identity with the winning team while affirming the battle belongs to the Lord. Finally, when it is necessary to engage with the enemy, the sword of the Spirit is the weapon to wield.

I like routine. There’s safety in sameness. But as my two oldest children are technically adults now, one stepping onto the mission field, one stepping into the medical field, change is coming our way! This momma’s heart is feeling a combination of pride and panic. But I remind myself, they are God’s kids, on loan to me these past 25/22 years. He loves them more than I do. He can care for them better than I ever could (though I’ve done my best). And as that phrase sings through my mind once again, “Be prepared”, I know they are. We are. But God help us stand!

Back in the 16th century, the term hoodwinked originated from the literal use of covering one’s eyes with a hood or blindfold. Today it is used more figuratively for “veiling the truth”. I was trained up well, per Proverbs 22:6, and have trained up my children because God has clearly warned regarding the enemy of our souls:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

We know the devil wants nothing more than to hoodwink as many as possible with whatever tactic works best. And he will, if we’re not prepared. Forget obvious deceit; we wouldn’t likely fall for that. Distraction and distortion are much more effective. But a half truth is still a whole lie, and Satan is the father of lies. At times, we can feel defeated with thoughts like: “What’s the point?” or “I can’t!” Not true. Go to scripture! When Jesus Himself faced the devil, the Sword was His defense. He was physically exhausted and hungry yet, because He was spiritually fed, He was able to
not only withstand the attack but force the devil’s retreat.

If you feel more scared than prepared, get ready. And if you think you’re ready, think again. Stay in the Word to remain prepared. Having that foundation and exercising faith in Christ will strengthen us for the day of attack, when it comes, far more than last minute scrambling or fear driven impulses ever could. Be sober. Be vigilant.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18) Then, God’s armor will protect as we stand, so that even in the middle of the fight (His fight) victory is ours!

As for parenting, we raise our kids to leave the nest, right? Let ’em fly! Whether they soar on wings like eagle’s or fall as a sparrow, God is sovereign, and God is good. So, hug them while you can (or grab someone else’s, but be sure to give ’em back!), and soldier on as a loving, living example, trusting in The Commander. And to the women out there – my fellow “helicopters”, hovering, nurturing, planning or dreaming – all the moms, moms-in-waiting, mothers of others and moms with babies in heaven… Happy Mother’s Day!

SHINE, always